Montreal, still that same summer at the end of the ’70…
It’s been many days now since Justine has seen her mama. She would like to know where she is. She misses her a lot. She loves her so much. When she’s not sick, she’s so great and funny.
Her daddy isn’t there often and when he is, he seems so serious. He smiles at her but she knows he’s serious, anyhow. And when she asks questions about her mama, he does not answer. Well, he talks to her but she still does not know where her mama is.
When he speaks with other adults, he speaks in a low voice. Justine tries to hear what is being said but she doesn’t succeed. She knows they are talking about her mama.
Her father’s cousin, who lives upstairs, watches over her when he’s gone. He works so much because of the “zoolimpics”, she doesn’t see him much. Often, Justine goes down to her house instead of staying upstairs. In fact, she’s often alone. She even tries to make herself meals by herself but it’s not easy when you’re small. You have to climb on a chair to get to the ingredients, to the dishes and to the top of the stove; she only uses the oven because her mama taught her how to use it. And since she can’t read, she sometimes does strange mixes like when she mixed the salt with the strawberry pudding preparation. That really tasted awful!
One night, her daddy comes home with a blond doll. Justine is so happy she feels like her heart is going to explode. She will have a friend to play with her and Minou Gris. She’s so lonely. Adults are not giving her any answers and she has the feeling they are not hearing her when she talks. Miss Camille at the daycare is the only that really listens to her and with whom she feels happy. But since she rarely goes, she misses Miss Camille.
The last visit at the daycare was very hard for Justine. She missed her mama so much that she started crying and calling her. Two rather mean little boys told her: “Your mama’s dead.” “Nooooooooo!” screamed Justine crying now even louder. And they kept repeating her that her Mama was dead. Justine exploded. She started running to the window and hitting repeatedly the screen. The screen fell on the street downstairs and the little boys screamed at Justine: “You just killed two nuns with your screen!!!”
“Nooooo! It’s not true! » cries Justine but the two little boys keep on telling her that she did and keep on tormenting her. Justine cries, hits the empty space, she’s beside herself, she has completely lost control…
Miss Camille comes running, chases the two boys away and takes Justine by the wrist. Justine calms down right away and snuggles in Miss Camille’s arms. Miss Camille holds her and rocks her softly. Justine, exhausted, falls asleep.
When she wakes up, she’s rolled up in a sheet on a nap mattress. Her daddy is there, looking very stern. He speaks with Miss Camille and the daycare’s manager. Justine feels shameful. Her daddy will be disappointed that she got so carried away.
But he does not say a word. He brings her back home on his bicycle as usual. He prepares her dinner and gives her bath. He’s so gentle that night. He sings her a lullaby before she goes to sleep:“It is the little girl that is so so sweet, She’s so sweet, the little girl…”
Justine falls asleep holding her cat, Minou Gris, who is purring in her arms. She still doesn’t know where her mama is but at least she’s got Minou gris with her.